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For a man that was supposed to have retired back in 2013, Steven Soderbergh took his sweet time breaking the vow everyone knew he'd eventually go back on making. Part of his vow to retire from filmmaking sounds like it was due, in part, to how major studios run their production and marketing operations. With his first film back, Logan Lucky, it sounds like his return was made on a pretty big condition that he's held to throughout the film's production: he's making and marketing the movie his way.
While a major studio would typically spend a certain amount of money producing, marketing, and distributing a film like Logan Lucky, Soderbergh has taken it upon himself to make all of those moves himself, and with select partners involved in each step of the way. The particularly ingenious move on his part is, of course, taking over the film's marketing campaign. Specifically, Steven Soderbergh is spending his marketing budget on a smaller, more targeted scale, in order to give himself more bang for the buck.
The Ocean's Eleven director has restricted his _Logan Lucky _marketing approach in ways other studios would tend to go bigger. The billboards for the film are focused on certain regions of the country, and TV ads for the film won't aggressively kick in until right before the film's about to be released. But the biggest piece of genius is the fact that the trailer to the film wasn't even tested with a focus group.
As everyone knows, focus groups are used by big studios to not only change what a film like Logan Lucky will end up being in its final form, but they also effect how that film is sold to the public at large. Without this testing being carried out during Soderbergh's process, both products are pure examples of what the director is trying to present to the world as his return to the movie business. So not only is this an exercise in spending less money on the marketing end of things, it's also a good example of how Steven Soderbergh is taking the movie making process back for the director who wants to truly control their product.
On top of the marketing coup that Steven Soderbergh has scored with Logan Lucky, he's also teamed with indie studio Bleeker Street to distribute the film, and according to the further coverage of The New York Times, he's pre-sold certain back-end rights like streaming up front. Much like Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Steven Soderbergh has shored up his already limited investment of roughly $29 million in production costs. If the Channing Tatum/ Adam Driver starring film's trailer is are any indication, the low-ball figure of $15 million should be easy enough to cross, giving all involved an easy win.
Should this new strategy pan out, we'll be seeing a lot of ads for Logan Lucky just before races into theaters, on the back of its own custom built marketing machine, on August 18th.